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Relief programme leaves more questions

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
To the rescue: Rakgare announced a P70million relief fund for arts and sports this week PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare’s relief fund announcement for sports has left some sport codes querying the process. 

Last week Wednesday, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) requested, through a questionnaire, National Sport Associations (NSAs) to submit their plans of resuming activities post COVID-19.

Some associations argued the questionnaire did not give them room to explicitly lay out their plans. The guidelines of the programme were to be released on Wednesday. Some critics argue the BNSC’s questioner should have guided the release of the relief fund.

Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) president, Mothokomedi Thabano said they did not receive BNSC’s communication on the COVID-19 plans. He argues that some questions contained in the document are not useful.

“We have some chess players who depend on the sport for survival like International Master Providence Oatlhotse, Francistown School of Chess, Boikhutso Mudongo and Mosenya Ndawana. He said such players own chess academies where they teach children and parents pay. They have been making enquiries about the relief programme,” he said.

Thabano said it seemed like the focus of the relief fund was on football. He said it remains unclear what professional athletes meant and it is something that is confusing.

He said when he made enquiries at BNSC, they informed him that they were still waiting for the guidelines from the ministry. He said at the moment he was not able to send names of the players who could be assisted.

“The budget is P70 million which I think is not enough to address youth, sport and culture. For the 15, 000 Presidential competitions artists, they are going to need P45 million for the three months excluding professional artists as

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well as Youth Development Fund (YDF) companies and all other sport codes and culture would be sharing the P20 million. In the remaining balance, P5 million goes to football to cover the three months which is about P1.7 million,” he said.

However, MYSC Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate said the P70 million was enough to meet all their commitments.

Botswana Softball Association (BSA) vice president, Gontlafetse Batsetswe said the deadline that was set was by the BNSC was too tight.

However, BSA submitted their response but they had challenge of getting information from clubs on players’ contracts. He said that made it difficult for them to justify the need for financial assistance and they struggled to make sound submissions.

“We tried our level best to make meaningful submission with a budget. We made a submission for COVID-19 compliance requirement costs being thermometers, SHE officers and several other requirements,” he said.      

Botswana Volleyball Association (BVF) president, Daniel Molaodi said the BNSC questionnaire did not include allowances for players. Molaodi said they were taking the matter separately in the context of what the ministry said it would assist on.

“The questionnaire was mainly what we intend doing as recovery programmes, how soon would we be ready to commence activities once the green light is on,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Secretary for Development and Budget in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Grace Muzila said MYSC wrote to them proposing that they should use their budget for the relief programme. She said the ministry was not given extra funding.



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